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May Meetup Recap Mental Health
and Mixed Identity

The May Meetup was a momentous wave of emotion for our community as we gave space to tell stories of mixed identities and their effect on mental health. But before The Mixed Space (TMS) founders Lili Stiefel and Ariel Bastida started the discussion, they gave a warm introduction to the newest member of the team: Mike Avila, TMS’s new Meetups Coordinator. Before joining the team, Avila was no stranger to the TMS community. He has been a monthly meetup regular and contributed to TMS as a Meetup 2.0 speaker last November. 


Before the meetup, we asked the community three questions: What role does mental health play in your life with your family? How do you help yourself maintain a healthy mental state? What are signs that indicate your mental health needs help?

Since the TMS team are not therapists nor mental health professionals, they chose to open the meetup with a brief video by clinical psychologist Dr. Jenn Noble. Noble’s focus of work is the intersection of mental health and mixed race. Her video discussed the various false beliefs projected onto mixed-race folks that cause deep insecurity and anxiety.


The community showed a wonderfully diverse age range. One community member opened up about his life when Jim Crow laws were active. He told us about the snowball effect on his life, recounting when he felt like a “freak show,” tearfully sharing his relief in telling his story to a community of people who are accepting and can relate. Others shared stories of discrimination and erasure of their other cultures.


Members shared the great lengths they’ve taken to assimilate into American culture. Such stories included letting go of their native tongue to be fluent in English to having one parent deny sharing their culture with them because they thought it wasn’t as important as the dominant Western side of their culture.


The community shared the frustration of not being mixed enough by the perception of others. Not being dark enough, not light enough, and generally not whole enough leads to a complete loss of identity. It took years of perseverance to dismantle their compulsion to “fit in,”– a status that only brings temporary satisfaction and more reason to feel erased. It took finding places of shared values and experience, much like The Mixed Space, to begin embracing their entire self and feel the permanence of belonging. After what many said was an intense breakout room, we all left the space knowing that none is a percentage: we are all 100% of what makes us whole, and we are all enough.


Community Recommendations:



Events, Organizations, & Websites



The Mixed Bloom Room (another mental health resource for mixed individuals) has a few seats left for the session on May 16. Sarah Lotus Garrett does excellent work with mixed adults on their identity journeys. www.mixedbloomroom.com



WHEW Women Healing & Empowering Women



Elders Film Project


Empower your PERIOD


Books Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow


Interview with the writer Eli Saslow giving details that are not in the book.


Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology by Deirdre Cooper Owens https://www.amazon.com/Medical-Bondage-Origins-American-Gynecology/dp/0820351350


Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer and the African Adventure that Took the Victorian World by Storm by Monte Reel


Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann


Sight-impaired Artist Creates Happiness-SACH – Personal blog


Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts


Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison by Allen M. Hornblum


Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington


Medisin: The Causes & Solutions to Disease, Malnutrition, And the Medical Sins That Are Killing the World by Scott Whitaker & Jose Fleming


The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah


Pussy Prayers: Sacred and Sensual Rituals for Wild Women of Color by Black Girl Bliss


Documentaries & Docuseries Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women


Tell the Children the Truth


Review of Farewell to Uncle Tom by Roger Ebert


The Principles of Pleasure – Ep. 1, Our Bodies


Terminology Layered Trauma


Buck Breaking


Chat Gems:


“…nearly everything I know about Asian culture, I had to learn myself.”


“I just wanna say I appreciate the diversity in age we have here where we can learn from people who were directly affected by laws like Loving vs. [Virginia]. “


“I think of us like a river – our ancestries are the watersheds where it all starts, then there are rivulets, and streams then come together. then small rivers and eventually THE RIVER – at the mouth of THE RIVER are the DELTAS composed of EVERYTHING and are constantly changing.”


“I love the diversity of views, and this is not a church…. or a belief system… I enjoy the heterogeneity of tracking the heart.”


“I deeply resonate with assimilation as a coping mechanism.”


“While I’m a “mono-ethnic” person (both sides of my family are from Punjab), I come from a multicultural and interfaith family – with parents who grew up in different countries and under different socio-economic and political situations. My parents have different accents and pronounce my name differently from each other. A few years back, there was a conversation about separating the “Middle Eastern” category from “White” and Depending on how the potential proposed “Middle Eastern” Census could be implemented, Punjab could be split between the Pakistani side would be “Middle Eastern” and the Indian side would be “Asian.”


“Being mixed is like the bisexuality of racial identity. Everyone tells you you have to choose [one] when that literally is not possible, nor is it loving.”


“No one gets to define my ancestors.”